Lorna Jane reaches one million Facebook likes: Five lessons from the retailer’s social media success

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Active wear brand Lorna Jane is a household name in Australia and, now it seems, also on Facebook.

Lorna Jane, which was founded by Lorna Jane Clarkson 25 years ago, reached one million Facebook likes last week, which it says is a first for an Australian retailer.

Since launching in 2012, the Lorna Jane Facebook page is growing at an average of 5000 likes per week and its posts have an average weekly reach of more than 2.2 million people.

The brand’s other social media statistics are equally impressive: 313,558 followers on Instagram, more than 200,000 unique monthly visitors to its Move Nourish Believe blog; 28,400 followers on Twitter; and 37,575 followers on Pinterest, to name a few.

“We constantly engage with our customers and share information with them that’s helpful and relevant,” Lorna Jane digital marketing and e-commerce manager Jessie Dean told SmartCompany.

“The popularity of these posts demonstrates that Lorna Jane is perceived as so much more than a clothing brand, we’re Active Living advocates that share everything from healthy recipes, beauty tips and exercise advice with our customers to help them live their best active lives,” says Dean.

“We also regularly review our customers’ posts and share their real life stories and let all women know they can be a Lorna Jane girl,” says Dean.

“We love to keep our posts authentic and this is a great way of doing it.”

While Dean says Lorna Jane’s online sales equate to the sales of 16 bricks-and-mortar stores, the retailer’s social media presence is not just about converting sales.

“The main purpose of our social media pages is to engage with our customers and ensure their active living experience long after they leave a Lorna Jane store,” says Dean.

So what can your business learn from Lorna Jane’s social media success?

Here are five lessons.

1. Make it personal

Social media specialist Catriona Pollard told SmartCompany Lorna Jane has found success on social media because it understands the value of a personal connection.

“People relate to Lorna Jane Clarkson, the person behind the brand,” says Pollard, who says the company has been able to use this to their advantage on social media by featuring Clarkson and her philosophies.

“There is an emotional connection to the brand because there is that connection to the person,” she says.

2. Find your audience

Pollard says Lorna Jane also understands its target market—women in their 20s and 30s—and decided to invest its resources into the social media platforms already used by those consumers, such as Facebook and Instagram.

“They found their people first and then figured out how best to interact with them,” says Pollard.

And they’ve put their money where their mouth is, says Pollard. Lorna Jane employs a dedicated social media team, who are passionate about the brand and who “take it seriously”.

3. Create your own content

Content marketing may be a marketing buzzword, but it’s one that is working well for Lorna Jane across its various social media platforms.

The retailer publishes its own unique content on its Move Nourish Believe blog, which currently attracts more than 200,000 unique visitors per month. It then shares the content on its Facebook page.

You’ll also find photo albums from Lorna Jane events or recipes from Lorna Jane Clarkson’s latest cookbook Nourish.

“They encourage participation with their community and that’s the heart and soul of social media,” says Pollard.

“It’s not just about posting that a new active wear product is on sale today, it’s actually about the community. People who wear their products are posting photos of them wearing the products, and these people feel part of the brand.”

4. Respond to your likers

It’s no longer enough for businesses to just post Facebook updates or Tweets and not to respond when followers write back, and Lorna Jane understands this.

And the responses don’t need to be lengthy. A simple ‘Glad you liked it” or love heart emoticon seems to be the retailer’s style when responding to posts by its Facebook likers.

The retailer will also often ask the individual a question in their response, starting a conversation and generating another Facebook comment at the same time.

5. Use hashtags

Once the domain of Twitter, hashtags are now a common feature across other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.

Lorna Jane is currently using the hashtags #liveloveNOURISH and #ActiveLiving across its accounts, tying in both with Clarkson’s cookbook and the brand’s philosophy.

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Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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